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The Cratchety Man. [CWC]

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posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 06:50 PM
I was unemployed, but looking for a job, a reckless twenty-three year old that thought he knew everything. I scanned the want ads everyday for feasible income, ever denied, until one day I saw this ad:

Wanted: Apprentice.
Must be under 25, muscular,
and capable of hard work.
Not married, nor any family
Pay above average.
Serious enquirers ONLY.
Call: 800-723-3023.

I fit the bill to a tee back then, and I was seriously intrigued. I called the number. They wanted my email, so they could send me an application. A few minutes later I was filing it out.

I paused for a bit when I realized how many pages it was, well over 80. I scrunched my brows together, thinking for a moment.

A brief thought about something strange passed within my thoughts, being young and full of vigor. It was quickly lost, then, so I filled out the rest of the application, honestly, and hit send. I knew it was some sort of physiological test, so I answered as honestly I could. For example, question 137 asked, "If you were wandering, and came across a set of railroad tracks, with a female tied to the tracks, with a train approaching, several moments away from hitting the girl, what would you do?"

I replied, honestly, "I would rescue the girl by whatever means before the train struck her." The whole test was too vague in my opinion. Three days later I got a postcard in the mail, about a doctor appointment at a specific time to undergo a physical for the recent job I applied to. I did a few quick fists pumps, knowing I could pass any physical. I was proud of my appearance, strong and supple, my years of training during my high school football years the reason responsible.

The clinic I had to go to was close by, and I was there five minutes early on the prescribed day. They took me in prompty, and drew blood, checked my blood pressure, and then submitted me to a battery of physical tests. I had to bench press my limit, run on an inclined treadmill, and do ten laps in the indoor track, amongst many other tests. The whole place seemed pretty fancy to me, kind of official. I didn't ask any questions, because to me, that "above average" pay was all I was thinking about at the time, and so far, this company looked like it had money to spend. I'll admit, I was so young back then.

Three days later I got an email.

It said to report to work in two days at a specific location. It listed the address. I googled it. It appeared to be an antique dealer. Cool, I thought, lifting and moving heavy antiques for "above average" pay. I could so do that. Prolly loading and unloading trucks.

The address actually turned out to just be a storefront in a packed downtown district, which I had determined partly from the google map. The sign of the door read closed, but at five minutes until my required time to report to work, I rapped loudly on the wooden door. I listened. Silence.

I knocked again, a bit louder. I heard noise from inside. Good.

I listened to the sound of several locks being unlocked, and eventually the old door swung open a bit. Behind it was an old man. I cleared my throat, and said I was reporting for work.

The cratchety man just looked at me, up and down, without speaking. He then unbolted the last few chains holding the door bound, and swung it wide, gesturing me inside. As soon as I had entered, he closed the door, and started re-fastening catches, which caused my neck hair to rise. I watched him secure the door, then turn to me slowly. He once again looked at me. He spoke, in a raspy crackling voice, as if he hadn't spoke in ages:

"Sit." He motioned to a nearby chair.

"I prefer to stand, Sir, but thank you." (I wanted this "above average pay" job!)

The old cratchety man's face twisted. His nose wrinkled more than what I thought his wrinkled skin could manage. He started coughing, but no, it wasn't coughing really, it was laughter, such as what an old soul such as he could produce, and it was evident he hadn't laughed in a long time. He sputtered and wheezed as I stood in amazement. I had nothing I could say.

He hacked and wheezed a bit more, and I could catch him saying, in bits and pieces, "thank you", "too funny", and "how long has it been?" Evident to me was the advanced stages of dementia. I began to get worried.

His demeanor cleared during the height of my worries. He regained his composure. He stared at me, walking back and forth, viewing me from every angle.

"So do I get the job, or what?" I ventured, my nerves strung.

"I think so," the cratchety man replied, "Yes, you do."

He stopped his studies of my physique to look at my eyes, and we locked gazes, for a few moments, and spoke heart to heart.

"Don't you want to know what the job is, before you dedicate your life?"

"Does it pay "above average?" I replied.

He chuckled again.

"Yes, boy, beyond your wildest dreams."

A sudden foreboding overcame me at that point, a warning, perhaps my own intuition.

"Then show me the job."

He motioned me to a door set into the side of the shoppe, and once opened, it revealed a staircase going downwards. The cratchety man went first, flicking light switches on as we descended. For every floor we descended, another set of lights was turned on, and looking downward, it seemed no end to our descent.

I was keeping a mental note, and thirty switches later we reached the bottom. I was surprised at the old man's stamina, as he led me downwards without ever needing to catch his breath, not as should an old cratchety man. Many red flags warned me of impending danger, and my blood began racing in a mix of both excitement and adventure. I may be in danger, my body told me, and it prepped itself to fight, if need be.

The old man wandered across the dimly lit platform, flipped on a few more lights, and revealed the extent of the room I was now in. It's huge ceiling loomed overhead, and I realized I was now in a huge cavern, carved out and re-fitted, as I cast my glance around, with all sorts of modern technology. The old man had gone over to a console, and was typing in commands on the touchscreen he was at.

"What is this?" I said, loud enough to catch the gaze of my patron.

"You'll see soon enough. Transition in 4, 3, 2, 1....."

With his countdown, before I had time to react, a white sphere enclosed upon my location, and I felt myself moving, shining white around me, not knowing where I was bound.

The shining brightness ceased, and the movement stopped. I stood, and looked around. I appeared to be upon an alien landscape, as there were two moons floating in the sky above. I felt my arm, and there was a longsword in my hand. I clenched my first, because in the near fifty yards was a group of the most hideous four-armed aliens, all with swords in their hands, numbering about fifty thick, and they were all looking at me. I had watched the John Carter movie three days before, so I knew what I faced.

It's a job, and it is with "above average" pay. I'm a panthan now.

edit on 3/14/12 by Druid42 because: hit enter first...bad boy.

edit on 3/14/12 by Druid42 because: had to give the alien hoard swords, and add a tidbit.

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